Preventing Distractions the Low-Tech Way

Distraction can be the number one enemy of a writer.  And when you sit down on the computer to write, distractions are plenty.  Check Facebook.  Check e-mail.  Do some marketing.  Surf.  Play a game.  Organize photos.  Defrag your hard drive.  Do research for your piece.  The list goes on.  All these have their place, but when you’re really trying to write—just write—they can cause problems.

My solution, when this happens?  Paper.  Remember paper?  And pens?  And pencils?  Yes, that old technology really helps when I’m having trouble concentrating.  There are programs to black out all the but your writing screen or prevent you from accessing the internet for a certain time.  But paper is a low-tech solution. 

It’s also ultra portable.  Paper works in a park, in bright sunshine, on a bus, all with no worries about electricity or battery life.  It works on a beach with no worries of sand or water damaging it.  It’s permitted during airplane take-off.  And it’s very user-friendly.

The downside of paper is that you later have to transfer all your scribbling to computer.  You can’t click and drag, cut and paste.  It takes time.  But if can easily make up for that in pure, distraction-free writing time to begin with.  

Try it.  You may like it.  

Melinda Brasher's short fantasy story, "Chaos Rises" is now FREE on Amazon (and everywhere else).  Her microfiction (38 words) recently won honorable mention in On the Premises' Mini Contest #25.  Read "Dusk" for free here.  Or visit her online at


Karen Cioffi said...

Belinda, thanks for the reminder that there's a 100% fail-safe method of getting writing work done anywhere. And, distraction free! There really are so many things that can easily distract us and take up our time.

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Melinda, I'm glad somebody else likes the qualities paper can bring to a project! I go back and forth between paper and computer. I find different thinking channels are involved. After both methods are utilized I think I come out with a better product. If you're a fast typist, transferring from paper to keyboard doesn't take all that long.

Unknown said...

I agree, Melinda. When I use my notebook (paper variety), I am not interrupted by my e-mail, online to-do list, etc. It's just me, my pen, and my notebook. Without the distractions, my creativity flows and I can get my work done. It takes a lot of discipline, though, to stay away from the computer.
Debra Toor,

Kathleen Moulton said...

Melinda, how true!

I recently bought a new recipe box and wrote out some recipes on the new cards. I was noticing how relaxing it was as the pen glided effortlessly across the lines. Then I remembered it's been awhile since I had hand written anything.

Debra Eckerling said...

I love this! I love paper. Especially for creative projects, I like to a first draft on paper. Thanks for the reminder.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Oh yeah! I am moving my computer from a PC to a Mac! I needed this information on stress and distractions!
Best, Carolyn

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

I like to occasionally write with pen and paper. It brings a completely different energy to the writing process.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks Melinda. Good points. I find handwriting is a real challenge now as I can barely read back what I have written! Too much time on the keyboard.

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